11 Sep Baa Baa Brewhouse Visitors Guide
Baa Baa Brewhouse
Known for being
kid friendly a brewery that kids can actually enjoy and brewing Hazy IPAs with national acclaim.
(Note, this interview was completed in September of 2016 and is in sore need of an update.)
What You Need to Know Before You Visit Baa Baa Brewhouse
Price: Pints – $5.00 – $7.00
Food: Food Trucks
Growlers: $11.00 – $16.00, 750ml
Kegs: Limited Local Distribution
Most Popular Beer: Fruited Sour & Berliner Weisse, Hazy IPA’s
Kids/Pets: Family Friendly, Kid Friendly, Dog Friendly (well behaved only)
AC: Hell Yes, It’s Texas after all.
Bathrooms: Very clean
Parking: Yes but limited. Offsite parking is available
Hours:Saturday 2:00 – 8:00 pm.
The Baa Baa Brewhouse Experience
Baa Baa Brewhouse, have you any beer? Yessir! And man, hold up – it’s Terrific! And that’s not even the best part!
As we were building this site, we searched high and low to list alllll of the breweries in the Greater Houston Area. (We’re still probably missing a few, and if you know of some, please let us know.) This was one of the smaller ones we had to dig a little bit for, but it was a gem indeed!
Chris reached out to Baa Baa Brewhouse and introduced Beer Chronicle. He mentioned that we’d like to check the place out for a little write up. Not only did owners Marcus and Kinga welcome us, they opened the place up on a weekday evening, after work, just for us. That hospitality would set the tone for our visit.
We pull up to a small industrial park in Brookshire with a row of brown, warehouse-type buildings, and there’s Baa Baa. We got front row parking because the place is typically closed on a Monday. The big bay door was wide open, revealing a large room full of picnic tables, with one wall neatly lined with kids toys and a big chalkboard. There was a small bar counter in the back, manned by Marcus and Kinga – Kinga with baby in tow.
Marcus and Kinga poured us each of their different beers, and as we drank them, they shared their stories. They shared about how the brewery was born, their travels and their fairy-tale love story, and it really felt like we knew them for years. I don’t think there’s anything too special about Chris and I, but that these two are just such good folks.
We sat and drank, taking notes all the while. I was tempted to close my notepad and just hang out, they were so welcoming. One of the notes I made about Baa Baa Brewhouse was simply, “More than beer.” This couple is definitely doing it right.
Baa Baa Brewhouse: About the Owners
Marcus Wunderle is a geologist from Ohio and a longtime home brewer. According to him, it’s a well known fact in his field that geologists either drink lots of beer or brew it. Or both. His wife Kinga is from Poland, where she studied law before adventuring to the US.
Her adventure here was a well-planned trip from coast to coast, where she’d stop along the way as she visited. 3 weeks in, she met Marcus, fell in love, abandoned the other 95% of the trip, and the two have been together since. They settled down a bit West of Houston, expecting a small sleepy town a bit outside of the City limits with quick access. Kinga tells a funny story of the first time they got on I-10, and she saw all those lanes. She told us that she looked at Marcus, nearly crying “What is this?? I thought we were in a small town!” The two have come to love Texas, Houston, and all the lanes of the Katy Freeway.
They shared with us some of the struggles they encountered with the legal side of opening up a brewery. Marcus knows beer. Kinga knows law. Should be easy, right? Naah naah, brewhouse.
There were some pains they encountered simply because the laws are moving and changing so quickly. “Breweries and the TABC aren’t even on the same page sometimes. We were literally learning together as things were evolving.”
Marcus explained to us the thought process behind each beer. “It’s an iterative process. I only like half of the beer we make, but that just means I get to make more!” He thinks of brewing as one part physics, one part chemistry, one part biology, astronomy, and of course, geology.
We also learned that the origin of their name comes from a play on the nursery rhyme Baa Baa Blacksheep. Each of them have fond childhood memories of hearing nursery rhymes, so they’ve added that to their family-style-brewery.
They told us all this while Kinga held their baby boy, and their other two children played peacefully with the toys and chalk.
The Baa Baa Brewhouse Beer
Their beer is British inspired with the experimental flare you’d expect from a brewer that got his start home brewing in Colorado. They spoke very fondly of traveling and tasting British ales and cask fermentation, and that influences their process. They’ve also incorporated the names of other nursery rhymes into the names of their brews.
They usually have 6 beers on tap, but when we visited they had 4. We visited on an off day, and their experimental stuff sells quickly because it’s real good, and the batches are smaller. They typically decide what to brew based on the demand for what they’ve done (or haven’t done) so far.
Marcus went as far as to grab his hop-stash, and share with us a bit of the science in brewing. We were pretty much drinking beer as if we were in school, just soaking up knowledge from these two. He said we could literally say we had a hand in their next brew. Pretty fancy.
My notes aren’t as concise as usual because we were so caught up just chatting. But when we visited they had the following beers on tap:
- Nottingham Donkey British Summer Ale, 5.5% ABV
- Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout, 4.1% ABV
- Father Goose IPA, single malt, single hop – all Mosaic, 6.8% ABV, 65 IBU
- Unnamed Experimental Belgian Witbier
They would all land somewhere between good and man, hold up, but we didn’t sit and write actual beer reviews. Maybe next time. Each of their taps at the brewhouse are unique to the beer, but out in the wild, if you spot a Baa Baa brew, it’ll have a one of a kind tap-handle made of kids blocks, courtesy of the handiwork of Thomas, Marcus’ brother.
Chris is a devout lover of IPA’s, and we were both really impressed with their Father Goose IPA. Chris even gave it a five star review after visiting the brewery again. It was the perfect balance of refreshing, fruity hoppy flavor and bitterness.
The Nottingham Donkey was good, and according to them, it’s a favorite among those in the neighborhood. It was light and balanced.
The experimental Belgian Wit was terrific, and they sent me home with a growler of it. I drank it right away, but took a while to post about it. Chris and I were trying to think of a cool name for it that somehow brought together nursery rhymes, Houston, and Britain. We got nothing.
The Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout was also terrific. Neither of us would consider ourselves Stout guys, but it was really good. It had malty, toasty, coffee notes and a creamy mouthfeel, but the low ABV made it a bit more palatable – sessionable even, if you dare.
On the bar, there was a little glass bottle with a metal dispenser top. It held a thick, dark liquid in it, but I didn’t pay it any mind at first.
Once I finished my Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout, Marcus grabbed my cup, pumped a few squirts of the dark liquid into my cup, and poured me another Stout. My eyes were like this. 😳
I thought it was some kind of soap at first, but they began telling us a story of a Scottish gentlemen that frequents the brewhouse, and the “soap” was actually black currant. That’s how they drink Stouts in Scotland. I’ve never been. It was news to me. But it changed the beer drastically.
I’m usually a bit picky about actual fruit in my beer – I want to taste fruit and beer, not just fruit. This Stout plus the black currant was just that. The sweetness seemed to alter the mouthfeel, and the fruitiness altered the maltiness; it was like they had a hidden 5th beer on tap!
Baa Baa Brewhouse is the official beer of the Colombian Geoscientist Network. I’d say that’s kind of a big deal.
The Future for Baa Baa Brewhouse
We asked them, “Who do you wanna be when you grow up?” Laughing, they told us they admired Real Ale in a big way, and if they had to pick a brewery to be like, it’d be them hands down.
We followed up with, “What are your dreams for the brewery?” Laughing again, they looked at one another and paused before answering. They replied almost in unison, “We each have several ideas!”
They were kind and generous enough to share a few lofty ideas with us, but they asked us to keep them to ourselves. So if you really wanna know, you oughta visit them and ask for yourself!
One of their short term responses, and less of a dream, they’re hoping to try their hand at bottling one day soon, as early as fall/winter of 2016.
The thing that sets Baa Baa apart is more than just good beer, good people or good stories. Baa Baa Brewhouse is founded by two generous, kind, folks that love their family and are building a beer business around that. It’s a unique perspective, and one that we can really root for.
This was one of the coolest brewery experiences to date, and we’ll definitely be back, kids in tow.
Important Facts from Baa Baa Brewhouse
- They’re no frills, but they don’t overlook the details either – English soap, y’all!
- Marcus is a drummer, and he and his band once opened for The Misfits in 2004
- Brew pub license allows them to sell to go (self-distribute) as long as they are under 5,000 BBLS/yr
- 100% self funded, no formal investors